Reviewer:Daithí Ó Maoltuile
August 4, 2019 Subject:
Another source of intelligence, particularly on the strength and progress of the I.R.B. was James Collins, the Dublin Corporation Dairy Inspector, who lived on Botanic Avenue. He was an old Fenian and obviously connected with the older I.R.B. He had been a confidential servant of Isaac Butt and a great friend of Davitt. Self-educated, he published a well-known book in 1913, "Life in Old Dublin". He was well versed in old Dublin municipal history and its personalities. Though he had dropped out of active participation in the I.R.B., he always remained in touch with the older men and was much trusted by them. I don't knew how he got in touch with the Archbishop I think it began with Collins sending the Archbishop interesting and little-known items of parochial history whenever he read that the Archbishop was about to visit and speak at parochial meetings. These the Archbishop often found useful, if only by starting him on the track of further investigation. The Archbishop, who always referred to him as "the conspirator", had a great respect for him, though they only met for a few moments' chat at parochial meetings. Being struck by the Archbishop's references to him, I sought him out in Botanic Avenue and we became good friends. He had built a special room in the garden of his house literally lined from top to floor with out-of-the-common books on local history. He died suddenly on 13th January, 1916, and his unique collection of books were bought by somebody in America who had commissioned a Dublin agent to buy books on Ireland. His specialised books were of no use to the Americans but they were a definite loss to Dublin. It was this man who made me alive to the distinct growth of the I.R.B. in Dublin in 1914 and 1915. He was very reliable and, despite his aloofness from the new generation, he knew everything.'
Right Rev. Monsignor M. Curran, P.P.,
Secretary to Archbishop Walsh,
Vice-Rector Irish college, Rome, 1920;
Later Rector do.
His recollections of Irish national